Mario Cristobal is closing in on his first coordinator hire as Miami’s head coach.

The Hurricanes are reportedly going to hire longtime assistant coach Kevin Steele for their defensive coordinator role. According to ESPN’s Chris Low, the deal has been signed.

Steele did not coach in college football last season, although he briefly served as Tennessee’ interim head coach in 2021 before the Vols hired Josh Heupel. Prior to that experience, Steele was a big-time defensive coordinator at programs like Auburn, LSU and Clemson.

He’s also had two separate stints on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama and was Baylor’s head coach from 1999-2002.

This is Cristobal’s first major staffing decision since joining Miami. He’s yet to replace former offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, who is now the head coach at SMU.

Miami’s defense will need to be significantly better in 2022. The Hurricanes often struggled on that end last season, and was part of the reason why they decided to move on from former coach Manny Diaz.

The announcement comes on the eve of National Signing Day. Miami’s 2022 recruiting class currently has just 10 members, but multiple commitments are possible on Wednesday.